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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Politics 2.0: CNN/YouTube Debates

Who watched the debates last night? For weeks, YouTubers have been submitting video questions from their couches and kitchen tables. Thirty-nine lucky submissions were selected for last night's CNN-broadcast debate. Missed it on CNN? The whole debate, question by question, is parceled out on YouTube (was this the final frontier of appointment television?).

While the questions were sifted through by some staff team somewhere, they weren't squeaky clean. Obama even commented on the fact that nearly every question was colored with a tone of skepticism. Here's a guy asking what Hilary thought of the idea of potentially 28 years of the same two families running the country, (Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton) and if the other candidates found that troublesome.

And now, YouTube is looking for reactions; what did viewers think of the candidates and their answers.

This debate format is reflective of our desire to participate in, instead of just holding on to the ride of life. People from all walks of life set up their tripods and, in varying levels of seriousness, asked what they really wanted candidates to talk about. I'd say that the candidates still need a little work at this whole "genuine, authentic" thing; responses tended on the side of sidestepping, finger-pointing and the occasional unrelated answer. But I give them credit for participating in this new experiment and look forward to the upcoming Republican Debate, which will take place in the same format.


justinph said...

You can't have a poltical debate without a little finger pointing and avoiding touchy issues. That's just how it works... They're up there trying to look better on issues than their opponents. They point out their opponents weaknessess. They have their own weaknesses they want to avoid. People who want that not to happen in a debate are simply lusting for a magical perfect candiate.

On that level, I don't think it changed the discourse and it never could. I think it did have a dramatic effect on how the candidates came off on a personal level. They were presented with real people and we got to see how they reacted. Sounds to me like the kind of thing they'd have to do as president.

Anonymous said...

I was a massive skeptic going into the debate, but found the questioning process (if not the questions themselves) to have a profound effect on the debate. Very interesting.


salina said...

ha ha, doesn't sound to me like something they'd have to deal with as presidents...REAL PEOPLE??? don't they get stopped at the 10 ft gates? (whoops, there's that voter skepticism again)

I agree with both of you, though, that the candidates put forth a greater effort to be "real." This is particularly interesting in a field of Democratic candidates who are already striving to draw a distinction from our current (fill in derogatory term of your choice) president.

I also intend to keep an eye out to see if this spirit will carry forward into the rotation of traditionally-structured debates.

Thanks for your comments.

AKI SYSTEMS 2600 said...

I appreciate the injection of candor and honesty into the political process. People were not finessed, not polished, not overly polite nor beholden to the candidates' fame and power. ABOUT FRIGGIN' TIME WE STOP BEING POLITE WITH THESE CLOWNS AND START GETTING REAL!

El Gaffney said...

might as well make them live in a (not the) house together and have their lives taped...shooooot. or republican democrat challenge with johnny mosley as host.

salina said...

wait--minus johnny mosley (nice touch) isn't that c-span?